From the February 16, 2011, New York Post... and Randi Wins Again
For a while yesterday, it looked like the full muscle and influence of the Obama administration was about to be flexed in favor of repealing LIFO. And then something happened.
US Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at a federal conference on "advancing student achievement through labor-management collaboration." The original, pre-delivery text of his remarks targeted "Last in, first out":
"Already, the ACLU has blocked seniority-based layoffs in Los Angeles, and Mayor Bloomberg has called for a change of state [LIFO] law in New York.But here's what Duncan actually ended up saying, according to the new text distributed minutes before he spoke:
"My view is that we need to look hard at the impact of seniority rules on students, especially in low-achieving schools. The goal should always be to maintain the most effective workforce, regardless of years of experience . . .
"Last-in-first-out policies can disproportionately remove great newer teachers who take on tough educational challenges," the text read.
"With [federal stimulus] funds drying up, this is a front-burner issue across the country. My view is that we need to look hard at the impact of staffing rules and policies on students, especially in low-achieving schools.That's it.
"That means recruiting the best teachers and then making sure that our state laws, labor contracts and personnel practices support these teachers and keep them in their schools," he said.
So, what the hell happened to LIFO? Ah, life is full of mysteries. As much as the teachers unions hate charters, LIFO is a line-in-the-sand issue for them.
As noted above, they have Albany's top education policymakers dancing like puppets -- so is there any reason to think their influence with the Obama administration is less strong?
This has the fingerprints of Randi Weingarten and the American Federation of Teachers all over it.
Duncan, who knows better, blew it.